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Local Arts Organizations Adapt To Stay Connected To The Community

Peoria Art Guild

Local arts organizations are adjusting to social distancing guidelines in an effort to stay safely connected to the community. 

The Peoria Art Guild plans to launch some free online art classes for kids and adults in the next week. They are also considering virtual options for the Fine Art Fair in September. Executive Director Shannon Cox remains hopeful the fair could still happen on the riverfront, as planned.

"We’re working very closely with the park district, and we’re following the CDC and the governor’s guidelines, to do whatever we have to do," Cox said.

The Peoria Art Guild is also planning to produce interviews with their artists to share online. Cox said giving artists the opportunity to tell their stories and to talk about what kind of pieces they’re working on will be another way to give the artists some exposure and a link to the community.

The Peoria Ballet is adapting, as well. They have moved all the current classes to the Zoom online streaming platform. Executive Director Wendy Thomasson said students are adjusting well to the interactive space. 

“It’s not just that the kids can see the teacher, the teacher can see them," Thomasson said. "So the teacher can give the students corrections during the class. He or she can interact with the students.” 

Thomasson said the academy is providing some structure for kids stuck at home because they know that at a certain time, on a certain day, they need to be stretched, warmed up and ready for dance class with their fellow students.

The Peoria Ballet has been around for 53 years and has been actively applying for grants along the way. Revenue is still coming in through student tuition, but Thomasson said the academy is feeling the financial impact in terms of events. The spring show, Cinderella has been postponed until the fall, and the annual Academy Recital that occurs at the end of May each year has been postponed until the summer.

Thomasson said they are remaining open minded and continue to look for creative ways to keep their kids engaged and to keep dance instruction moving along.

We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WCBU will continue to be here for you, keeping you up-to-date with the live, local and trusted news you need. Help ensure WCBU can continue with its in-depth and comprehensive COVID-19 coverage as the situation evolves by making a contribution.

Daniel Musisi is WCBU's Assistant Audio Director. He's also the host of our daily newsmagazine All Things Peoria.